PDM, you have raised some more fascinating points here, for which I thank you. Two which I would like to pick up on are quoted here -
"A young mother who had lost her 'common law husband' was shocked to find that she was not entitled to a widow's pension or any similar financial support because she was not married.
An older woman similarly found herself without home or anything when her fiance, with whom she had lived for nearly ten years, told her she had to go because he was no longer interested. "
When I am asked why I wanted to marry Mr M, I reply that we are going to be together forever so why not? Which is absolutely true, but not the whole answer. Before our marriage, a tiny niggly part of me was terrified that this wonderful relationship would somehow be scuppered, perhaps by his mother whispering in his ear. In addition my own mother is a strong advocate of women's rights and when she saw me throw myself body and soul into this relationship she was worried I could be left with nothing at some point.
We run a very small business, and I am an employee for tax purposes. Our work centres around his creativity and products he makes, and I deal with admin. If something happened to him so he couldn't work, the business would be finished. Or just like the example above, if he told me to go, I would have nothing. I'm not paranoid and my confidence in hubby is absolute, but life doesn't always go the way you want it to. I've seen enough episodes of Judge Judy to know that (lol!) - she's very scathing towards women who don't protect their interests. An unmarried woman, living in a house with his name on the deeds, with no outside job is pretty vulnerable.